My sweet brother and Liquid Hope!

As I write this, I am sitting in a hospital room, talking to my brother and hoping that one day soon he will be able to answer. While no one knows what will happen next, I feel immense gratitude that he is still here with our family and that he is working so hard to accomplish tasks that seem small but are amazing to us. It has been a long year of ICU's, Hospital rooms, storming, crying, and so much more.

All of this after an accident that happened in a second. The second that changed everything. Forever.

My brother, Ryan, was bicycling over to my house for some raw ice cream that I had made that afternoon and to play board games. Ryan had to slam on his brakes to stop for a car that was turning left across his lane, and he flew over his handlebars. I knew something was wrong before I even saw the police cars blocking my street.

After basically dying, (Glasgow scale 3) the surgeons were able to relieve the pressure of his swelling brain and use machines to keep him breathing and to keep his weary heart pumping. His brain trauma was very severe, and we are eternally grateful for the medical team that helped him make it through that night and the next 40 days in the ICU.

Now that we are a year from his accident, he is making slow but exciting progress! His coma lasted about six months, and he is technically still in a vegetative state, but he is more and more responsive with each passing day. We try to keep hope of a full recovery even when it seems impossible to feel hopeful!

Ryan was (is) extremely dedicated to keeping his mind, body and the planet healthy through the food and shopping choices he made. A talented cook and firm believer in local organics, we were horrified when we looked at the food he was receiving after his accident. The ingredients were not anything he would ever eat! We fought hard to try to switch to a formula that was more along the lines of his value system, but were met with a lot of resistance. We were coming up to brick walls with everyone we tried to talk to about the matter of the food that was going into his tube and into his very traumatized, weakened body.

We knew his brain needed good fats, protein and a good carbohydrate source. We also knew that it would be so important to Ryan to continue with his organic lifestyle. Food was not just food to my brother, it was love. It was a deep spiritual connection for him with his own body and how it functioned, and with the gathering of friends, family and strangers around a dinner table.

We spent so much time and energy trying to figure out a solution, but our ideas were always pushed aside in favor of the pharmaceutical formulas. We did have success for a few weeks with a formula that we were having made at a pharmacy, but it was challenging to bring it into the hospital environment because it needed to be refrigerated and changed frequently. We were grateful they let us try our own carefully crafted formula, but the state came for inspections a few weeks after we started feeding it to Ryan. We were told the state had pulled his file and the hospital decided we could not feed him the formula because it was not FDA approved for traumatic brain injuries. We were crushed. Actually we were beyond crushed, we were devastated.

He went back on the regular corn sugar laden, non organic formula, and we felt hopeless. What we knew would have been one of his biggest wishes was something we were not able to help him out with. It was painful to think about! We kept trying to find an alternative, and luckily, Ryan used to work for a nutritionist in his job before the accident. Ryan had many discussions with his boss about how bad the feeding tube formulas were. Ryans comment to us before the accident was that he couldn't believe that people who needed the most help and nutrition were being fed so much crap!!.

That conversation has been on our mind from day one. His boss had heard about a whole foods formula called Liquid Hope, and we were so excited to find something that was already made and blenderized that we could keep in his hospital room and hopefully convince the dietitian that it was a great choice, and what he would have wanted.

Luckily, our persistence paid off! We were able to start him on Liquid Hope and finally rest the food debate, knowing that he was getting real, whole, organic, high quality food into his body! He is thriving and we are so grateful for Functional Formularies, Ryans boss Jeremy Lampel, and the new care center that allows us to provide this healthy formula.

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-Megan Concannon